Which Visa or MasterCard could replace your IHG Barclaycard credit card?

My main article today looks at the decision by Barclaycard to close its two IHG Rewards Club credit cards.

For most people, the obvious move will be to one of the two replacement IHG Rewards Club cards issued by Creation.  There are, however, many other Visa and MasterCard products out there.   I thought it was worth quickly running through the alternatives to the IHG cards.

Bear in mind, during this process, that you may be better with a cashback card, the most generous of which is currently the ASDA Cashback Credit Card.  This card is free and offers 0.5% cashback on all spending in ASDA vouchers.  The representative APR is 19.9% variable.

Hilton Visa

Avios and non-IHG Rewards Club hotel cards:

I am bundling the Avios and hotel cards together because most people have both an Avios account and an account with the major hotel chains and may be ambivalent between them when it comes to points earning.

Best sign-up bonus (free card): Hilton Honors Platinum Visa 

EVERYONE who reads HFP should get this card – although, as you can now only get the bonus once, you need to time it right.  It is issued by Barclaycard, so if you had trouble being accepted whilst you held the IHG cards, you shouldn’t have a problem after 26th April.

The sign up bonus is a voucher for a free weekend night at any Hilton Group hotel, triggered when you spend £750.  The only catch is that it must be used within 6 months.  Long term, it isn’t a bad option – you get 2 Hilton points per £1 which I would value at 0.6p.  This is VERY favourable compared to, say, 0.2 Avios per £1 on a competing card.  My full review is here.  Representative APR 18.9% variable.

Best long-term card for the Avios collector (for most people):  Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express & MasterCard 

This is a double pack with a £24 fee.  The earnings rate stinks (0.25 Avios per £1) BUT MasterCard spending counts towards the upgrade voucher you receive for spending £7,000.  This voucher allows you to book a Club World BA redemption for the Avios of World Traveller Plus or a WTP redemption for the Avios of World Traveller.  Short-haul, you can book Club Europe for the Avios of Euro Traveller.  You could save 50,000+ Avios if you use the voucher smartly.

Add in the fact that the card has NO FX FEES and you have a good package.  Lloyds service is poor but you can hold your nose and get through that.  My full review is here.  Representative APR 23.7% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Best long-term card for the Avios collector (high income readers):  HSBC Premier MasterCard or HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard 

You need to have a (free) HSBC Premier current account to get these cards.  Read my coverage here and here for more details.  If you’ve got the money behind you to get Premier, the cards are great.  The standard MasterCard is FREE and earns 0.5 Avios per £1.  Representative APR 18.9% variable.  The World Elite card has a £195 annual fee but comes with a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Avios for spending £12,000 in your first year, free airport lounge access and pays a generous 1 Avios per £1 spent.  Representative APR 59.3% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Best long-term card for the Avios collector (no annual fee) – Tesco Clubcard MasterCard

You get 1 Clubcard point per £8 spent which translates into 0.3 Avios per £1.  However Tesco rounds down each transaction to the nearest £8 which means your actual earning rate is lower.  My full review is here.  Representative APR 18.9% variable.

Visa or MasterCard Avios products of little use to most people:

The cards below are, for most people most of the time, beaten by one of the cards listed above:

Lloyds Choice Rewards American Express & MasterCard (review) – £24 fee and 0.2 Avios per £1 compares badly to the Lloyds Avios Rewards card, given that this card has no upgrade voucher.   Representative APR 23.7% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Tesco Premium MasterCard (review) – £150 annual fee.  You wouldn’t get this card for the earning rate – which is poor (given the annual fee) at 0.6 Avios per £1, and in reality even lower due to the way Tesco rounds down your transactions.  Some people may find value in the travel insurance and the generous bonus for spending over £5,000 at Tesco per year – the card only really works if you would trigger this.  Representative APR 56.5% variable, including the fee, assuming a £1200 credit limit.

Credit cards

Non-Avios cards:

This section is trickier to call.  Unless your Visa or MasterCard spending is huge, you will never earn enough miles purely from the card to redeem for a flight.  You are only likely to be interested in these cards if you already collect miles in that programme.  In this scenario, the question to ask is:  is the card a better deal than a cashback card?

Note that none of the paid cards listed here offer any sort of pro-rata fee refund if you cancel.

Virgin Atlantic White American Express and Visa (review) – good earning rate at 0.5 miles per £1, given the £0 annual fee and 10,000 mile special sign-up bonus which runs until 3rd April.  However, Visa spend does NOT count towards the Premium Economy reward upgrade on an Economy redemption after spending £10,000 per year (two can be earned per year) or the fairly useless companion voucher (valid only on a paid flight in a flexible booking class in any cabin) when you spend £15,000 in a year.  Representative APR 22.9% variable.

Virgin Atlantic Black American Express and Visa (review) – excellent earning rate at 1 mile per £1 but you need to offset the £140 annual fee against this.  For the first year, the 25,000 mile sign-up bonus (this is a special offer until 3rd April) makes it attractive.  Visa spend does NOT count towards the Premium Economy reward upgrade on an Economy redemption after spending £5,000 per year (two can be earned per year) or the fairly useless companion voucher (valid only on a paid flight in a flexible booking class in any cabin) when you spend £7,500 in a year.  Representative APR 57.4% variable including fee based on a £1200 credit limit.

American Airlines AAdvantage American Express and Visa (review) – this is an EXCELLENT card, with no fee and 0.75 miles per £1 spent on the Visa.  If you have an American Airlines stash this is definitely worth considering.  There is a 5,000 mile sign-up bonus too.   Representative APR 22.9% variable.

Emirates Skywards American Express and Visa (review) – not as generous as the American card, but 0.5 miles per £1 is still good for a free card.  This is a 5,000 mile sign-up bonus too. Representative APR 22.9% variable.

Emirates Skywards Elite American Express and Visa (review) – £150 annual fee but a very strong earnings rate of 1 mile per £1 spent on the Visa.  For a heavy spender this is worth a look, and even an average spender may find it good for the first year given the 10,000 miles sign-up bonus.  My review outlines the other perks offered although I don’t value any of them highly.  Representative APR 60.5% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Etihad Guest American Express and Visa (review) – 0.75 miles per £1 spent on the Visa is a good deal given the lack of a fee.  5,000 mile sign-up bonus.  If you fly Etihad the other perks are worth a look too – bonus miles on Business and First Class flights taken within your first 90 days and Silver status after one return flight.  Representative APR 22.9% variable.

Flybe MasterCard (review) – the card is too complex to explain easily!  My review has all the details but I don’t recommend it.  Even the sign-up bonus of a free flight is less generous than it seems.   Representative APR 18.9% variable.

Lufthansa Miles & More American Express and Visa (review) – with 0.75 miles per £1 on the Visa and no fee, this card is a good deal if you have a Miles & More account.  Holding it also stops your miles expiring, which is valuable given the harsh three year cut off.  The sign-up bonus is 1,500 miles and you also get 33% bonus miles for the first six months which a high spender could find valuable.  Representative APR 22.9% variable.

United Airlines MileagePlus American Express and Visa (review) – finally, we have the United card.  It offers 0.625 miles per £1 spent on the Visa and has no fee.  There is no sign-up bonus.  Representative APR 22.9% variable.


These are certainly not vintage times for anyone looking for a new Visa or MasterCard.  For a lot of people, the best option to replace their Barclaycard IHG Rewards Club card will be the new Creation version.  However, I hope I have been able to show here that there are some decent alternative deals about and hopefully one will suit your miles and points goals.

Further reading: click here for our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page summarising all the current offers, and click here for all of our ‘Credit Card Reviews’ articles.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Barclaycard closes its IHG credit cards - what should you do?
Bits: new BA Copenhagen lounge, Hilton Diamond Extension live, where we're going
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  1. Mikeact says:

    I guess any of these preferable cards should also be tied into Supercard and/or Curve for maximum benefit.

  2. Beefy says:

    What is the most frustrating point from barclaycard is I now have 6 weeks to earn my free night voucher or lose the thousands of £ I put towards it. Tough call. Glad we will get a partial fee refunded but still a shame.

  3. Crafty says:

    There was a rumour on here that new applications for the Hilton card are now also being turned away – has this been dismissed?

    • Not heard anything

    • Mr Dee says:

      No but if you have an existing barclaycard you will likely be declined even though on paper it says that it doesn’t matter, tested by applying 3 times and the third having the other barclaycard cancelled (in past 2 months)

      • Just managed to get the Hilton card on first try about a week ago, I have another Barclaycard that I haven’t used for years but still an active account.

        • Mr Dee says:

          Well that just what I know and the third time being accepted btw, this obviously doesn’t seem to apply to everyone who has a barclaycard.

  4. Renaud says:

    Even though the topic is Mastercard/Visa cards, maybe it should be made clearer that the poor 0.25 Avios / £ rate on the Lloyds only applies to the MasterCard in the pack, it’s 1.25 on the Amex IIRC.

  5. Should be ‘which visa’ and not ‘what visa’ in the title 😉

  6. Shame if the Hilton Visa was to go the same way as the IHG, its also a good way of mnainaining a minimum of HH Gold status.

    Loved our first 2 nights here at Rangali via ours, really great value redemption.

    • Genghis says:

      I was planning on getting the hilton card (again) after Easter to earn some (now it seems quite valuable) HH points. Hope rumours arent true.

    • Rabbit says:

      Did you just stay the two free nights or did you pay for some nights too? About to book for my honeymoon 🙂

      • All on redemption, free HH Visa certificate + rest on points.

        It’s a lovely place & the staff here are just the best. I intend writing a follow up review from the one I did 2 years ago, the new King Beach Villas have been extensively refurbed since my last stay, much better use of the available space and nicer materials too.

    • *maintaining ! 🙂

  7. Graham Walsh says:

    I’ve got my Supercard linked to my Creation IHG and it works ok for small values, anything over £50 and it gets declined. SuperAnnoying not SuperCard

  8. Jumble Tales says:

    I tried to apply for the Hilton card yesterday after I heard the news on HFP. Barclays told (me) that it was also being phased out and was now closed to new applicants. I don’t want the new Barclays Platinum/Freedom card. Is it best to close the Barclays IHG now and apply for Creation or would I lose the IHG fee refund?

    • Interesting – still online.

      • Jumble Tales says:

        Yes. I saw that. After speaking to IHG I phoned the HH number and asked to apply, when they told me the above.

        • Why would you apply on the phone?

        • Jumble Tales says:

          @John. Well as my IHG premium wasn’t yet closed I still didn’t know if Barclaycard would allow anyone to hold both simultaneously to save a declined application. I just asked them if I could have the HH instead of the Platinum. Call transferred to Barclaycard HH dept and was told the above. Shame.

        • Well, if you are willing to risk it just apply online regardless of what they said. I am an active user of the IHG barclaycard and I applied for and received a new Hilton card last week.

  9. Jenny says:

    Thanks for the article, Rob, but surely it’s ‘which credit card’ rather than ‘what credit card’? Sure I won’t have been the only person bothered by this.

  10. graham says:

    It’s the difference between knowing your s*** and knowing you’re s***

  11. Rob. Ref the Lloyds avios card:- Do you get an upgrade voucher for every £7k spent or just one per year?

    If I spent £14k would I get 2 upgrade vouchers?

    • Only one voucher every 12 months from account opening.

    • Lev441 says:

      You just get the one per card year…

      • Genghis says:

        But if you have a partner you can refer them for another card (4,500 avios for you and 4,500 avios for them), pay the £24 fee and then spend another £7k for another voucher.

  12. Mark E says:

    Slightly O/T : as there has been mention here that the Barclaycard Hilton card might be pulled, I’ve swiftly applied. If I get the card it’s highly likely that I will just spend £750 and get the free night as I have a possible plan for the night already.
    The question is, can I check the Hilton site now to see if I am likely to get free night availability that I want? I’ve tried looking for Honors nights availability on points but I can’t find any. I have no honors points at all, will this mean that I will never be shown availability until I have enough to spend? Incidentally it’s Dublin on Friday July 21st, so it could well be that their hotels are busy enough already that night.

    • Yes you can, just make sure you are not logged in to your Honors account. When not logged in tick the option for using points. Then look for Standard room redemption availability, not premium. I had the same problem and was logging in a a zero balance account, it tries to be clever and only points when you have enough to afford it, but having zero means you can’t afford anything and hides it.

      • There is a points/euro switch at the top of the page. On that date it is only premium rooms at the Conrad, Hilton, and Hilton Garden inn. The Morrison, Kilmainham and Airport have standard rooms for points.

      • Genghis says:

        That seems to have changed as I can see points rooms even if don’t have the required number of points. Incidentally the Conrad Singapore seems to have shot up in points from 50k to 60k for the dates I need. I’ve been tracking it in case it moves in the other direction.

        • Minimum redemption is now 5000 points for any hotel so as long as you have that many, you can see points when logged in

        • mark E says:

          Thank you very much everybody

    • roger says:

      Is this just a rumor or any further insight to back that up.
      I can think of good use of that card applying now.

    • mark E says:

      Another query on this one please folks. Assuming that I get the card, is there any way that I can book the hotel before I have the free night voucher. For example, can I book the room as a flexible cash rate and then call their customer services to swap it over for a free night once I have qualified?

      • Although technically possible if you get the right agent, I don’t know how easily you’d manage to do this. If you had enough points to book the room you might find a rep that would be willing to swap the points for the voucher, but I think less chance with a cash booking. Also if it does fill up there’s no guarantee that a cancelled cash room would appear back in the inventory.

  13. BigDave says:

    applied twice for the Barclaycard HH Visa – not even a sorry letter – no reply whatsoever not even an email or reference number. Boo.

    • You need to wait up to 10 days for anything, was the same when applying for the IHG barclaycard

      • BigDave says:

        believe me I waited up to a month in between re-applying – at least with IHG I got two letters in the post from them when I applied online plus a reference code to email them with related to my application.

  14. I have the current IHG card as a back up when I can’t use my AmEx. The reason I have the AmEx is for Avios and the 2 4 1 voucher. I’m not a huge traveller so not that interested in hotel reward night, I just want the Avios. So whats the better credit card ? None of them seem to be particularly attractive for Avios points earners. The best one looks to be Lloyds, but can I book a WTP, use the Lloyds voucher to ugrade, then use the 2 4 1 voucher for a second ticket ? (I suspect not)

    • No, you can’t combine Lloyds upgrade and Amex 241 vouchers in one booking. Remember both are only for redemptions too, not cash bookings.

      • Thanks.
        It looks like either the Creation IHG card or the HH card, but both no that exciting !!

  15. jamie says:

    stopped using visas and mastercards a while ago.

    if you live and work in London (as most of your readership do) amex flies everywhere

    don’t remember last time I went somewhere that didnt accept amex

    • The tax man. Big spend for the self employed. Lots of us in London.

    • Gavin says:

      As someone who doesn’t have a tax bill to pay, I don’t find much use for my non-Amex cards, but they are handy for pubs / some restaurants and Lidl / Aldi

      Even managed to find a wedding venue which takes Amex for everything which should help towards the honeymoon

    • Thames Water and most local authorities don’t take Amex. But HMRC is the big one. And the Lego store.

  16. Andrew_A says:

    Are there no B & Q’s in London?
    There are plenty up here in Scotland and also, I believe, a few HFP readers.

  17. roger says:

    Slight OT – Hilton Card SIgnup Bonus

    Does this have to be strictly weekend night only or can it be during weekday in off season? Is it to be booked online or via call center?

    • Meant to be weekend only (although some folk have had luck with weekdays if the US call centre agent doesn’t realise!). Have to book over the phone, although you can check availability online (look for standard room, not premium room – it’ll be a round number of points)

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